Many people want to shed a few pounds, but they dread the weight-loss process. They associate a shrinking waistline with grueling, long-distance runs. But breaking a sweat and dropping some extra weight can also be extremely fun. This guide explains how playing tennis can get you in shape and help you meet weight-loss goals.
Benefits of Tennis
The benefits of tennis are wide-ranging. From mental health to physical conditioning, tennis can improve many different aspects of your life. The following sections outline some of the physical benefits of regularly playing tennis.
Lean Muscle Growth
If you’ve ever watched a professional tennis match, you’ve probably noticed how most of the players are lean, strong, and agile. These players are in such good shape because tennis is a demanding game that burns fat, builds muscle, and promotes anaerobic conditioning.
You constantly move your feet in tennis, which builds lower-body strength and improves overall stamina. In addition, swinging a racquet promotes core and upper-body strength (especially in the arms) and builds lean muscle. So not only are you burning fat, but you’re also promoting muscle growth.
From Head to Toe
David Foster Wallace
Unlike going for a run where you generally jog in one direction, covering a tennis court involves a variety of movements. You shuffle your feet from side to side, sprint up and down the court, backpedal to the baseline, and lunge as you reach for tough gets.
You might feel sore after your first few matches, and for good reason! Your entire body is involved in every shot, which means many different muscles are targeted. You rely on your legs to chase down balls, your core to provide power, and your arms to swing through the ball. In fact, it’s possible you’ve never even used some of these muscles before!
Make Exercise Enjoyable
Perhaps the most important benefit of tennis is that it’s a fun way to exercise. Your feet never stop moving while the ball’s in play, and you’re generally running at full speed. Without much time to rest or catch your breath, you’re constantly burning fat. However, it’s easy to overlook these physical demands when you’re having fun.
Instead of dreading the idea of exercising, you might look forward to the entertaining, yet physically demanding, activity. You can spend some time with your friends, while also shedding some extra weight in the process.
How to Get Started
Now that you know how tennis can help you get in shape, it’s time to put this knowledge to practice. The rest of this guide explains how to begin your new tennis routine.
Before you rush to the closest sporting goods store to pick up some tennis gear, take a moment to reflect on your short- and long-term goals. Analyze how many days per week you can realistically squeeze tennis into your schedule, and figure out how many hours you think you can spend on the court per trip.
For example, commit yourself to playing twice a week for an hour and a half each time. You might be able to easily meet this goal and possibly even exceed your expectations. Without a clear goal in sight, though, it’s very easy to neglect exercising altogether.
Find an Instructor
Not only can a coach help you develop the necessary skills to compete at a higher level, instructors also know how to push your physical limitations. Private lessons will leave you panting, and you’ll notice huge strides in your overall abilities and conditioning.
Tennis is a difficult game for beginners to pick up, so working with a coach can help you get over the initial learning curve. Once you can keep the ball in play consistently, though, you’ll be much more inclined to play on a regular basis. If you need help finding a coach, look no further! You can contact tennis instructors in your area right here on iSport.
Since you’re competing against one (singles) or two (doubles) other players, matches can be very lopsided. You’ll likely see a bagel on the scorecard if one of the players is glaringly better than his opponent. Even worse, it’s hard to make improvements if you’re consistently getting beat like a drum. And if the points and games aren’t lasting too long, you likely won’t even break a sweat by the end of the match.
Find a similarly-talented partner so that your matches stay competitive and tiring. You should test your game against better opponents as well, but you don’t want to feel like you’re consistently walking into a swordfight with a toothpick. An equally-skilled opponent will push you to make improvements, while also tiring you out in the process. Search for other tennis players in your area right here on iSport, and find someone who has similar goals as you.
Don’t Back Down
While weight loss shouldn’t be your only reason to play tennis, it’s a great motivating factor. Tennis is a fun way to stay in shape, and you’ll certainly notice results if you hit the courts several times a week. Don’t get disappointed if you’re not noticing results right away, though. Living a healthy lifestyle will definitely improve your overall well-being over time, but you need to stay patient and headstrong!